Well, if you wish to read the article in details, here is the direct link http://sg.news.yahoo.com/top-germ-hotspots-hotel-room-105118838.html but if you just want to briefly understand what the article is all about, do read on:
A small study conducted by the researchers from the University of Houston concluded that two of the top surfaces most likely to be contaminated with potentially sickness-inducing bacteria, including streptococcus and staphylococcus, are the main light switch and the television remote. It also goes on to say that other hot spots were bathroom sinks and floors and that the highest level of contamination were found in the maid’s cleaning cart.
My take on this small study:
First and foremost, I must admit that I am not a professional microbiologist. While this small study might have come up with facts and findings that indicated spots that have the highest bacteria contamination, this study was based on nine hotel rooms across 3 states in the US. Hence, the study might be slightly inconclusive as there are no indications if the study was done on upscale hotels or budget hotels, and on top of that, 9 hotel rooms is too small a study to really produce any conclusive evidence.
Please do not misunderstand that I am putting down this study because there are indeed some truths in it. In fact, I personally feel that if this study was done on a much larger scale, it would have made people more aware of the hygiene standards in the hotel industry.
As a former hotel staff working in an upscale hotel establishment in Singapore, I can testify that there are certain practises among housekeepers that are not right. Some of these practises include, using the hotel’s bathroom towels to clean and dry the bathroom sinks and floors, using the same cloth meant for wiping the toilet bowl to wipe other areas, and not sanitising common items such as remote controls, light switches, and the telephone.
Due to such practises, it is not a surprise that guests sometimes find themselves falling sick after checking-in into a hotel room. Again, I am not putting the blame on anyone for such practises but seriously, a housekeeper has to clean about 15 rooms a day and I believe you can imagine for yourselves, how tiring it must be for them to clean 15 rooms within a specified time frame! While housekeepers should not bear the full grunt of the matter, the hotel management also has to set the right standards and train their housekeepers well! Otherwise, what may seem clean on the surface might not necessarily be that clean after all as we can’t see germs and bacteria with our naked eye.
And quoting from the study where they mentioned that the maid’s cleaning cart contains the highest levels of contamination, I am really not surprised to find that out at all. As I have mentioned, housekeepers have to clean 15 rooms a day using the same equipment/cart/cloths, so you can picture for yourself how bacteria and germs could accumulate if there are no sanitisation and disinfection done on the equipment/cart/cloths.
Well, while the study might have some truth in it, it is still quite inconclusive because the number of rooms that were studied were too small a number to justify areas of the hotel room that have the highest level of bacteria/germ contamination. It would be more helpful if there are more facts gathered from the study such as whether the study was conducted in upscale hotels or budget hotels, and whether the study was conducted before the cleaning of the room by the housekeepers or after the cleaning of the room by the housekeepers.
Either way, should you be concerned about the hygiene standards of hotels, do ensure that you bring along some disinfectant wipes when you travel abroad the next time, so that you can protect yourself from germs and bacteria that may cause you to fall sick.
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